Timeline: Wesleyan Reflects on the COVID-19 Pandemic

For nearly a year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably affected our lives in varying magnitudes. In this timeline, we explore the evolution of the pandemic through Wesleyan’s lens via public health advisories, photographs, and news stories.

Jan. 22, 2020:  Wesleyan’s Medical Director Dr. Tom McLarney issues a public health advisory to the campus community. “As many of you know from news reports, there is a viral illness that has affected the Hubei Province (mainly in Wuhan) China,” he wrote. “This virus is a novel (new) strain of the Corona virus … At this time, there is no threat to the Wesleyan community but the University will be monitoring this and will keep the community apprised of any developments.” Read the post.

Feb. 2, 2020: In response to the World Health Organization announcing an outbreak of a novel coronavirus, or “COVID-19 (coronavirus disease of 2019)”, Wesleyan’s Chinese community (particularly students and parents) bands together to help their fellow citizens. The student-initiated group WesInAction raises more than $23,000, which is used to purchase medical equipment for hospitals in the pandemic’s epicenter in Hubei province, China. Read the story.

On Feb. 16, WesInAction delivered seven sets of oxygen concentrators and ventilators and 26,000 pairs of medical gloves to the First People’s Hospital of Xiaochang County and the People’s Hospital of Dawu County in Xiaogan, Hubei province.

On Feb. 16, WesInAction delivered seven sets of oxygen concentrators and ventilators and 26,000 pairs of medical gloves to the First People’s Hospital of Xiaochang County and the People’s Hospital of Dawu County in Xiaogan, Hubei province.

Feb. 26, 2020: Vice President for Student Affairs Mike Whaley shares a campus-wide message: “There are no suspected [COVID-19] cases at Wesleyan, nor in Connecticut” but due to several confirmed cases abroad, the “University is recommending that students, faculty, and staff do not travel internationally.” Read the post.

March 11, 2020: Governor Ned Lamont declares a public health emergency after the CDC reports nearly 1,000 known COVID-19 cases nationwide. President Roth suspends all in-person classes. Faculty and staff are asked to work remotely if possible. Read the post.

March 12, 2020: While there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases at Wesleyan, there are five confirmed cases in the State of Connecticut. Athletic contests are canceled. All University-sponsored, connected, or funded domestic and international travel for students, faculty, and staff is prohibited. Read the story.

A student works in Usdan University Center on March 23. Approximately 300 students are staying on campus during the coronavirus pandemic. All students are completing their classes remotely due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), regardless of their physical locations. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

A student works in Usdan University Center on March 23. Approximately 300 students are staying on campus during the coronavirus pandemic while other students are completing their classes remotely. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

March 28, 2020: In his “Roth on Wesleyan” blog, President Roth writes about concerns with remote teaching, keeping distance with one another, and the quiet campus. Read the post.

roth foss hill

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 took this photo of a sparsely-populated Foss Hill on March 27. “People were keeping their distance, but still, we managed to commiserate about our lonely campus during what should be a very exciting time of year,” Roth said. “We dreamed of better days to come and urged one another to stay healthy.”

March 31, 2020: Wesleyan stresses the measures to decrease the risk of infection including staying six feet away from others, washing hands frequently, cleaning high-touch surfaces, avoiding sick people and groups of five or more people. Masks are not required. Read the post.

April 6, 2020: To help medical personnel safeguard themselves during the coronavirus outbreak, two makerspace labs on campus manufacture much-needed protective masks using 3D printers. Wesleyan donates its first set of 100 face shields to medical personnel at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown. Read the story.

visors

Shawn Lopez, Wesleyan’s IDEAS Lab coordinator, modeled a face shield he created using the lab’s 3D printer.

April 7, 2020: President Roth announces that Wesleyan will delay its 188th Commencement Ceremony, originally scheduled for May 24, 2020. “There is so much uncertainty about what the next few months will hold, and we don’t think it is responsible to plan to bring a large group together on Andrus Field in May,” Roth wrote. Read the story.

April 8, 2020: Dr. Tom McLarney issues a public health update stating the CDC’s new recommendations regarding face masks: “Masks should be worn when going out in the public such as grocery shopping or trips to the pharmacy. This also applies to students on campus picking up their take-out meals. Due to the shortage of N-95 masks (and others) which protect our health care workers from contracting COVID-19 from their patients, simple cloth masks are believed to be sufficient to wear in public.” Read the post.

April 20, 2020: The Office of Admission hosts a virtual WesFest for Class of 2024 admitted students and their families. Read the story.

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 delivered a WesFest welcome message to Class of 2024 admitted students. “You should be on campus right now. You should be touring this incredible place,” he said. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to have that experience. The world turned upside down, and here we are. But welcome to Wesleyan. I’m thrilled that you’re going to be joining us in the fall.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 delivered a WesFest welcome message to Class of 2024 admitted students. “You should be on campus right now. You should be touring this incredible place,” he said. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to have that experience. The world turned upside down, and here we are. But welcome to Wesleyan. I’m thrilled that you’re going to be joining us in the fall.”

DISCOVERY, DISRUPTION, RAPID ADAPTATION

May 1–2, 2020: Rather than allowing the COVID-19 pandemic to force a final curtain call on theatrical productions, Wesleyan’s Theater Department pivots to an online format. The department offers live-streamed performances of The Method Gun, featuring 10 student-actors. After countless hours of line rehearsals, overcoming technical frustrations, and learning how to act and teach theater in a virtual world, show director and Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl says, “I almost can’t believe what we pulled off.” Read the story.

method gun

Students acted in the virtual production of The Method Gun. “In retrospect, and in looking at the show now, I realize that the pandemic put the whole process in a kind of helpful pressure cooker. And in the intensity of this moment, in the epic-ness of the task to translate what we were doing to Zoom, alchemy happened,” said Director Katie Pearl.

May 4, 2020: The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) offers a passage of a resolution “Commending the Wesleyan Faculty for their Efforts in the Transition Towards Distance Learning.” Faculty have less than two weeks to prepare their courses for distance learning before classes resume after spring break. Read the story.

May 4, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that United States residents not only practice social distancing but wear masks in public. Wesleyan faculty and staff begin donning masks. Read the story.


May 19, 2020: President Roth reports that Wesleyan may reopen in the fall. “We are confident that Wesleyan can satisfy [required] conditions for reopening, and we very much hope that the University will be fully residential in the fall. We will only open the campus if it is safe to do so,” Roth said. Read the post.

May 20, 2020: The Graduate Liberal Studies photography course, ARTS 613: Studies in Portraiture and Self-Portraiture, shifts focus during the pandemic. Read the story.

GLS student Ali McFadzen finds it virtually impossible to avoid conversations, news, memes, or song parodies that utilize pandemic-related buzz words. “It’s like the most depressing game of Scrabble,” she said, referring to the first photo on the left. Pictured in center, “the act of ‘getting ready’ has all but disappeared. The new and temporary ‘normal’ requires no embellishments.” And at right, “the world awaits us.”

While McFadzen is extremely thankful for the ability to work from home, it has also presented its challenges. “The typical, and once cursed, interruptions of an office environment that would take me away from my computer are now gone. Emails have tripled, meetings taking place through Zoom, conversations through Skype and Teams, classwork through Moodle,” she said. “In this image, I am trying to convey the feeling of being unable to step away, unable to escape from my computer.”

While McFadzen is extremely thankful for the ability to work from home, it has also presented its challenges. “The typical, and once cursed, interruptions of an office environment that would take me away from my computer are now gone. Emails have tripled, meetings taking place through Zoom, conversations through Skype and Teams, classwork through Moodle,” she said. “In this image, I am trying to convey the feeling of being unable to step away, unable to escape from my computer.”

May 24, 2020: For the first time in its history, Wesleyan University holds its Commencement virtually, awarding 771 Bachelor of Arts degrees. Streamed on both the Wesleyan website and on Facebook, the ceremony—the University’s 188th—sees more than 3,000 family, friends, faculty, staff, and alumni gather together online for a common moment in celebration of the members of the Class of 2020. Read the story.

Wesleyan University held its 188th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 24. President Michael Roth ’78 delivered live, on-campus remarks to a large virtual audience and a small gathering of socially-distanced in-person groups of graduates and onlookers.

During the 2020 Commencement, President Michael Roth ’78 delivered live, on-campus remarks to a large virtual audience and a small gathering of socially distanced in-person groups of graduates and onlookers. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

June 22, 2020: Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 announces that the University plans to resume in-person classes in the fall, pending the ongoing recommendations of University, state, and federal health and safety experts. The University begins a thorough reactivating campus plan. Read the story.

July 8, 2020: Wesleyan is among more than 300 colleges and universities to issue a joint statement, “Care Counts in Crisis: College Admissions Deans Respond to COVID-19.” Wesleyan’s Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez ’96 talks about this shared commitment, as well as how admissions at Wesleyan has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the story.

July 14, 2020: Wesleyan launches the Reactivating Campus website (now called “Keep Wes Safe”), which serves as a key COVID-19 information hub for the campus community. Read the story.

Aug. 20, 2020: Wesleyan partners with the Broad Institute and begins testing Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff for COVID-19 at a testing site on Andrus Field. Students are required to be tested twice a week. Read the story.


Aug. 28, 2020: Wesleyan welcomes students back to campus during the week of Aug. 24. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Residential Life stretches Arrival Day activities over the span of seven days, and students are assigned a formal arrival date and time to minimize crowds and allow for appropriate social distancing. Only students may enter residences during the move-in period. Students are asked to take a COVID-19 test prior to leaving home, and must be tested again upon arrival. They will be tested twice per week throughout the semester. Read the story.

Arrival Day was held over a seven-day period in 2020. Prior to moving into their residence halls and Aughomes, every student was tested for COVID-19 at Wesleyan’s testing site. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Arrival Day was held over a seven-day period in 2020. Prior to moving into their residence halls, every student was tested for COVID-19 at Wesleyan’s testing site. (Photo by Olivia Drake)


Aug. 28, 2020: While students are quarantined, Wesleyan delivers its annual Orientation Program virtually through live Zoom meetings, town halls, and webinars. Read the story.

Orientation concluded Aug. 28 with the virtual Common Moment. “The one part of orientation that really stuck with me was the Common Moment,” said Sabrina Ladiwala ’24. “To be dancing with everyone, no matter whether you were in your dorm room or at home, made me feel a part of the Wesleyan family because we were all having this shared experience together!”

Orientation concluded Aug. 28 with the virtual Common Moment. “The one part of orientation that really stuck with me was the Common Moment,” said Sabrina Ladiwala ’24. “To be dancing with everyone, no matter whether you were in your dorm room or at home, made me feel a part of the Wesleyan family because we were all having this shared experience together!”

Aug. 31: Classes begin and all students are in a required quarantine until Sept. 6. Through multiple platforms, including Zoom and Moodle, faculty teach classes remotely or through a hybrid system. Read the story.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university community was under a quarantine period from Aug. 24 to Sept. 6. Students were asked to a COVID-19 test prior to leaving home, tested again upon arrival, and will be tested twice a week as the semester gets underway. Through multiple platforms, including Zoom and Moodle, faculty taught all classes remotely during the first week. Following the quarantine period, faculty have the option to teach courses entirely online, in-person, or through a hybrid system for through the Thanksgiving break, after which, all faculty are prepared to return to distance learning.

Sasha Rudensky ’01, associate professor of art, taught ARST 253: Digital Photography I through a hybrid system; however, she opted to teach Photo I entirely in person.

LEARNING, INNOVATION, GROWTH DESPITE UNCERTAINTY

Sept. 1, 2021: Wesleyan holds in-person classes on campus in both indoor and outdoor classroom settings. More than 180 classrooms have been rearranged in order to achieve a minimum six-foot distance between occupants. In addition, break times are expanded to 30 minutes or more to allow for custodians to disinfect all touchable surfaces in each classroom between classes. Read the story.

classrooms

At left, the Powell Family Cinema served as a screening room, lecture hall, and classroom. Students could only sit in open seats, which were spread six feet apart from one another. At right, Mary Alice Haddad, the John E. Andrus Professor of Government and chair of the College of East Asian Studies, taught her GOVT 296: Japanese Politics course in the Hogwarts classroom. The outdoor classroom safely accommodates up to 40 students. (Photos by Olivia Drake)


Following a mandatory two-week quarantine, students continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week on campus. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Following a mandatory two-week quarantine, students continued to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week on campus. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Sept. 18, 2020: Three weeks into the fall semester, Wesleyan students are adapting to the “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Face coverings or masks are required in all public spaces to help reduce the spread of the virus. Some students find the masks also can serve as a fashion accessory or statement piece. Read the story.

masks

Students were required to wear masks in all public spaces. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Sept. 21, 2020: Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance and director of the Allbritton Center, teaches a new course, Dancing During Pandemic, where students meet at the Wesleyan softball fields and keep a 12-foot distance between each other. Read the story.

Twenty-five students are enrolled in the Dancing During Pandemic course.

Twenty-five students are enrolled in the Dancing During Pandemic course.

Sept. 22, 2020: Faculty, staff, and students gather on Zoom for an interdisciplinary conversation, titled “Dis/Ease: Contagion and Pandemics in Our World and Its Stories.” Participants discuss the topics of contagion and how concepts of “dirty/clean” are changing social constructs. Read the story.

The SLABBER performance invites viewers to consider notions of social and physical contamination and asks whether it’s possible to come close to someone else across a great distance. During the “Talk It Out,” guest speakers Fred Cohan, Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment, professor of biology; and Anthony Hatch, associate professor of science in society, offered their insight on how pandemics and contagion play out in our world and in our stories. Participants discussed the topics of contagion and how concepts of “dirty/clean” are changing social constructs.

Fred Cohan, Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment, professor of biology; spoke about the idea of purification. “When biologists learned about the microbiome, we lost the idea that there was something pure about our bodies, and the more we can scrub ourselves of those nasty bacteria, the better our lives would be. And it turns out, now it’s the opposite,” he said. “How hard do you really want to scrub to make yourself pure? It would be a dangerous exercise, and nobody really knows how bad an idea that would be.”

The socially distanced event featured live student performances and a welcome message from the ASA.

African Studies and the African Students’ Association (ASA) invited members of the Wesleyan community to a socially distanced West African Music and Dance performance on Sept. 25.

Oct. 8, 2020: The NESCAC presidents decide unanimously to cancel the NESCAC athletic conference competition for the winter season. Nevertheless, the Department of Athletics continues to provide a top-of-the-line training regimen for its athletes.


Performers were permitted to remove their masks during their performances. 

During the Fallapalooza concert on Oct. 9, performers were permitted to remove their masks during their performances. Only 46 students were allowed to attend the event to maintain proper social distancing on Foss Hill. (Photo by Simon Duan ’23)

Oct. 16-17, 2020: Wesleyan parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and students gather together virtually to celebrate Wesleyan’s 2020 Homecoming and Family Weekend. Participants are treated to popular WESeminars, live campus tours, a Parents’ Assembly, two symposiums, and more, all from the comfort of their own homes. Read the story.

Directed by Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl, SLABBER introduced the audience to a group of enigmatic figures who have traveled to Wesleyan to diagnose their mysterious condition—

The Theater Department presented its fall show, SLABBER, on the Center for the Arts green Oct. 16-18. The socially distanced performances were open for groups of 48 audience members at a time. This performance asked the Wesleyan community to consider notions of social and physical contamination, and whether it’s possible to come close to someone else without ever leaving your chair. (Photo by Simon Duan ’23)

Oct. 26, 2020: With social distancing in mind, John E. Andrus Professor of Government Mary Alice Haddad teaches her Japanese Politics class through kinesthetic learning—or learning with your body. Read the story.

Haddad then broke the class into four groups and asked them to construct “movement phrases” based on their recent readings. Through this exercise, the students engaged with the topics emotionally rather than just intellectually and expressed all of that with their bodies. After performing their movement phrase, fellow classmates reflected on how they interpreted the movements.

Haddad asked students to construct “movement phrases” based on their recent readings. Through this exercise, the students engaged with the topics emotionally rather than just intellectually and expressed all of that with their bodies. After performing their movement phrase, fellow classmates reflected on how they interpreted the movements. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Nov. 3, 2020: In a divided nation amidst a global pandemic, approximately 600 students, faculty, staff, and local residents vote at Middletown’s Voting District 14, located inside Beckham Hall in Fayerweather. Read the story.


Nov. 17, 2020: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont rolls the state back to “phase 2.1,” reinstating many restrictions on both indoor and outdoor gatherings. The COVID-19 testing site moves indoors to Beckham Hall for the winter season. Read the story.

covid testing

COVID-19 testing moved inside Beckham Hall for the winter. (Photo by Simon Duan ’23)

COVID

Signage near the Beckham Hall testing site reminds the campus community to stay six feet apart. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Nov. 23, 2020: During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of Wesleyan’s musical activities and classes are canceled, drastically adjusted, or moved to virtual platforms. Fortunately, for Wesleyan’s Javanese gamelan classes, students are still allowed to meet in person. Read the story.

On Sept. 28, the musicians presented a gadhon ensemble, featuring soft-sounding instruments (pictured). On Nov. 2, the musicians presented a gendhing soran, a loud-sounding instrumental piece in Yogyakarta style.

Javanese gamelan musicians are permitted to play the instruments as long as they wear a mask and disposable gloves, social distance, and frequently use hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

Dec. 17, 2020: More than 25 students in Fred Cohan’s Global Change and Infectious Disease course have pandemic-related op-eds published in national media outlets. Cohan, professor of biology and Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment, assigns the op-ed writing as part of his course and offers students extra credit if they are able to get their work published. Read the story.

STAYING THE COURSE, SEEING LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Feb. 6, 2021: Wesleyan’s Pandemic Planning Committee members Dr. Thomas McLarney; Rick Culliton, associate vice president and dean of students; and Mike Whaley, vice president for student affairs; speak about their roles in helping the University welcome its community safely back to campus and ensure the well being of Wesleyan students. Read the story.

Wesleyan’s Pandemic Planning Committee members Dr. Thomas McLarney; Rick Culliton, associate vice president and dean of students; and Mike Whaley, vice president for student affairs;

Wesleyan’s Pandemic Planning Committee members Dr. Thomas McLarney, Rick Culliton, and Mike Whaley.

Feb. 9, 2021: Wesleyan’s 2021 spring semester begins with 2,148 students residing on campus. All students are required to receive a negative COVID-19 test and quarantine before arrival. Read the story.

CERT

Volunteers from Wesleyan’s Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) made sure every student returned to campus with a negative COVID-19 test. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

lunch

During the pandemic, students were served meals in to-go containers. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Feb. 22, 2021: In a “Roth on Wesleyan” blog, President Roth notes that more than 500,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19 in the past year. “While we pay our respects with remembrance, may we remain vigilant about preventing more losses in the future,” Roth said. “May we find common purpose and even some joy in keeping our community safe.” Read the post.

March 5, 2021: Ninety-nine thousand and counting. That’s how many times Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff have stuck, swiped, and swirled cotton swabs in their nasal cavities over the past seven months at the Wesleyan COVID-19 testing facility, with hopes for that negative result indicating no presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Wesleyan’s Curricular Contingency Planning Task Force (CCPTF) continues working to keep the campus community safe. Read the story.

Wesleyan’s COVID-19 testing facility opened Aug. 17, 2020, on Andrus Field. Testing operations continue today inside Beckham Hall.

Wesleyan’s COVID-19 testing facility opened Aug. 17, 2020, on Andrus Field.

March 9, 2021: Given the NESCAC safety protocols for spring sports, Wesleyan plans to resume athletics conference competition in April. With the health and safety of our students, coaches, faculty, staff, and the greater community foremost in mind, resumption of play will occur only if conditions related to the pandemic remain favorable, and policies and protocols across Connecticut and New England permit. Read the story.

spring sports

Athletic competition resumed during the spring semester.

March 9, 2021: Students take advantage of the 60-degree temperatures in Middletown. Students, who are in their fifth week of spring semester classes, continue to wear face coverings in all public places during the pandemic. Read the story.

As temperatures warm-up, students begin spending more time outside. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

As temperatures warm up, students begin spending more time outside. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Students, who are in their fifth week of spring semester classes, continue to wear face coverings in all public places during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students, wearing face-coverings, walk to Usdan during the lunch hour on March 9.

March 11, 2021: In his “Roth on Wesleyan” blog, President Roth shares a video message about the past year. “A year later, I am filled with sadness for all of us who have suffered losses over the last 12 months, and I am filled with gratitude for the many contributions of our students, staff, faculty and alumni as we navigated the crisis,” he said. Read the post.


March 15, 2021: A panel of Wesleyan faculty and staff experts discuss the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine during a campus-wide webinar titled “Why Get Vaccinated?” Read the story.

Fred Cohan showed a model of herd immunity. “I want to give people a sense of hopefulness. That is, [eradicating COVID-19] is something that’s possible,” Cohan said. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s an awful disease. We made some technological breakthroughs and it’s likely with political will and more technology we could actually put an end to this forever.”

During the “Why Get Vaccinated” webinar, Professor Fred Cohan showed a model of herd immunity. “I want to give people a sense of hopefulness. That is, [eradicating COVID-19] is something that’s possible,” Cohan said. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s an awful disease. We made some technological breakthroughs and it’s likely with political will and more technology we could actually put an end to this forever.”

March 23-24, 2021: Wesleyan students welcome a two-day study hiatus during spring break. Students remain in Middletown during the mid-week recess. Read the story.

spring break

Students were encouraged to spend spring break on campus. (Photo by Willow Saxon ’24)

pandemic

Wearing masks has become the new norm. (Photos by Willow Saxon ’24)

March 27, 2021: Earth and environmental sciences majors, who normally complete their senior capstone outside of the continental United States, carry out their research in Wesleyan’s Long Lane Forest, located a half-mile west from the heart of campus. Read the story.

capstone

Three student groups spent the past semester studying the vegetation soils on the Long Lane Forest property; how the forest changed over time using historical imagery; and how the groundwater underneath the forest interacts with precipitation on the surface.

April 8, 2021: As temperatures rise and campus blooms to life, students continue to follow safety measures this spring by practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

As temperatures rise and campus blooms to life, students continue to follow safety measures this spring by practicing social distancing and wearing masks. For more information on Wesleyan’s efforts, visit the Keep Wes Safe website. (Photos taken by Willow Saxon ’24 on April 8 and 10)

A student laces up her rollerskates near Fayerweather on April 8. (Photo by Willow Saxon ’24)

roth class april 9

On April 9, students who are enrolled in Michael Roth’s Virtue and Vice in History, Literature, and Philosophy course gathered on the McKelvey Green to hold a class discussion. (Photo by Michael Roth ’78)

April 14, 2021: Wesleyan announces it will partner with Middletown’s Community Health Center to administer the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to all students residing on campus. Parking Lot V at 75 Vine Street will serve as the walk-through vaccination clinic starting April 24. Read the post.

April 15, 2021: As part of a class assignment for the spring 2021 course Topics in Journalism: The Art and Craft of Journalistic Nonfiction, students are tasked with writing short essays on the continuing battle for normalcy while attending college during the COVID-19 pandemic. The class is taught by Daniel de Visé ’89, Koeppel Journalism Fellow. Read the story.

I'm on the far right with my arms crossed. Olu, who is featured in the story, is squatting in dead center. Coach Reilly also has his arms crossed, and is far right in the gray.

Kiran Kling ’24, pictured at far left, wrote an essay about being on the men’s basketball team during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olu Oladitan ’24, pictured in the center, is featured in the essay. (Contributed photo)

April 15, 2021: Janine Cory ’91 speaks about COVID-19 myths, vaccinations and vaccine hesitancy, pediatric transmission, health literacy, and more. Cory is the associate director of communications for the CDC COVID-19 Response, Vaccine Task Force. Read the story.

April 16, 2021: Wesleyan announces that all students will need to be vaccinated prior to returning to campus next fall. View post.

April 17, 2021: Wesleyan’s Japanese community gathers outside the College of East Asian Studies to celebrate Ohanami, or “flower viewing.” In early spring, three sakura—or cherry blossom trees—are blooming near the Japanese Garden. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual gathering is restricted to current students studying Japanese and CEAS faculty members.

The cherry trees were donated in the mid-70s by Nobel Laureate Satoshi Omura, who received an honorary degree from Wesleyan in 1994. “The cherry blossoms’ timing was perfect,” said event coordinator Naho Maruta, associate professor of the practice in East Asian Studies. “We had fallen cherry blossoms all over the ground, which made a beautiful cherry blossom carpet.” Maruta said this year’s event was especially meaningful because it was canceled last year. Also, since Japanese classes are still taught online this semester, “some students and teachers finally met each other for the first time in person.”

Wesleyan’s Ohanami coordinator Naho Maruta, associate professor of the practice in East Asian Studies, said this year’s event was especially meaningful because it was canceled last year. Also, since Japanese classes are still taught online this semester, “some students and teachers finally met each other for the first time in person,” she said. (Contributed photo)

April 24-25, 2021: Wesleyan partners with the Community Health Center (CHC) to host a vaccine clinic for more than 1,000 registered students. View a WSFB Eyewitness News 3 report.

Vincent Langan '24, Andres Angeles-Paredes '24, and Tuong Nguyen '24 proudly display their "I'm vaccinated" stickers after receiving their first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination on April 24. "I feel elated. This is an emotional high," Langan said. "I am extremely grateful." (Photo by Rachel Wachman '24)

Vincent Langan ’24, Andres Angeles-Paredes ’24, and Tuong Nguyen ’24 proudly display their “I’m vaccinated” stickers after receiving their first Pfizer COVID-19 injection on April 24. “I feel elated. This is an emotional high,” Langan said. “I am extremely grateful to have received my vaccine.” (Photo by Rachel Wachman ’24)

"The process was really smooth," Cameron said.  There were different checkpoints, really just directing us to where we needed to go” — Cameron Scott ’24They did a really good job giving it [to us], especially because the Johnson and Johnson one was iffy” — Cameron Scott ’24

“The process was really smooth,” said Cameron Scott ’24. “There were different checkpoints directing us to where we needed to go.” (Photo by Rachel Wachman ’24)

May 4, 2021: Wesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives, along with Academic Affairs, are hoping to build a historical record—and preserve for posterity—the stories, memories, messages, and creative works of the University’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Read the story.

Wesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives has launched a “Postcards from a Pandemic” project, which aims to help future students and researchers understand what it was like to be a member of the Wesleyan community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives has launched a “Postcards from a Pandemic” project, which aims to help future students and researchers understand what it was like to be a member of the Wesleyan community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

INCHING CLOSER TO NORMALCY

May 5, 2021: The Pandemic Planning Committee announces that it will begin to relax some restrictions in preparation for fall. Effective immediately, gatherings of 20 people or less are permitted; visitors to campus are permitted in outdoor spaces; Usdan opens seven days a week with expanded hours; and as of July 1, University-funded travel for fully-vaccinated faculty, staff, and students is permitted. The wearing of face coverings is still mandated on campus. Read the post.

May 13, 2021: In lieu of Spring Fling, students gather on Andrus Field May for Spring Thing, an end-of-the-semester celebration. Read the story.


Tickets to the event were $6 and 100 percent of the proceeds were donated to the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective. Tickets holders gained access to a dozen carnival games, music by student bands, and meal options by four food trucks.

Tickets to Spring Thing were $6 and all proceeds were donated to the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective. Tickets holders gained access to a dozen carnival games, music by student bands, and meal options by four food trucks. (Photo by Willow Saxon ’24)

May 21, 2021: To date, there have been 163 million cases of COVID and 3.4 million deaths from the disease worldwide. There have been 33 million cases and 583,000 deaths in the U.S. In a public health update, Dr. Tom McLarney dispels some common myths about the COVID-19 vaccines. “It’s no surprise that as vaccine rates are climbing, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID are decreasing,” he said. Read the post.

May 26, 2021: Wesleyan drops its COVID-19 Dashboard level to low and reports zero active cases on campus.

dashboard

May 26, 2021: Perseverance, pride, progress, and graduating during a unique moment in history are on the minds of the hundreds of graduates and their families at Wesleyan’s 189th Commencement ceremony. Although the University chose to spread seats six feet apart, wearing masks is optional. Read the story.

commencement

Wesleyan’s 189th Commencement Ceremony was held May 26 where mask-wearing was optional. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

2021 grads

Students are all smiles at Commencement.

hat toss

The Class of 2021 celebrates their graduation and the near end of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tom Dzimian)